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The Justin-Siena mock trial team

The Justin-Siena mock trial team and coaches. 

The Justin-Siena mock trial team won the Napa County competition for the fifth year in a row last month.

They were undefeated for the second consecutive year.

To win this year’s competition, the Braves won five matches from schools in Napa and Sonoma counties, most of them with populations much larger than Justin.

Remarkably, this year’s 18-student entry featured mostly underclassmen, but with key roles played by four seniors, veterans of four years’ dominance in county competition, said a news release. 

One of the “lawyers”—Mary Cate Hyde recently won the Poetry Out Loud Competition, showing the diversity and depth of the team and the value of mock trial for skill development.

To a member, the seniors are enthusiastic about the skills they have learned in mock trial, said organizers. 

Anna Zheng credits the experience with helping her become “the poised and confident individual I am today.”

Marlon Washington II, says mock trial has contributed to his “intellectual growth.” Marlon hopes to do mock trial next year at Stanford.

Catherine Flaherty describes mock trial as an “awesome combination of linguistics, logic, legal history, procedure and personality.”

Next stop for Justin is the California State competition, featuring the winners from most California counties. This year’s meet is at the Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana this weekend.

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“State meet competition is intense,” said senior Ryan Mulcahy, a three-year veteran who is with the team for this year’s Santa Ana trip.

Mock trial is a family affair in the Mulcahy household—brother Liam also has a key role this year.

Mock trial students present a fully realized criminal bench trial, complete with lawyers, witnesses, exhibits, clerks and bailiffs.

Actual California law and rules of evidence are used. The fact pattern is the same for each team statewide to ensure a level playing field. The event teaches presentation, public speaking and organizational skills.

Volunteer coaches for the team are Alan Charles Dell’Ario (Coach Chuck), who has a statewide appellate practice and Bill Hardy (coach Bill) a retired trial lawyer.

Dell’Ario and Hardy have coached five years and enjoyed the experience, or, as Dell’Ario put it…“Coach Bill and I continue to be in awe of these kids who learn so much from presenting themselves in the competitive environment of a criminal trial. The lessons go with them to college and well beyond.”